Read on to find out how to make the best gin and tonic at home. We cover everything you need to know, including choosing the right gin, the perfect gin-to-tonic ratio, and adding the perfect garnish.
Choosing the perfect gin
We all know that gins get their flavours from the botanicals that are distilled into them. And there are hundreds of different botanicals that distillers can choose from. Botanicals can be used in an infinite number of combinations, which is why gins are all so unique. But there is one botanical every gin must have to be called gin, and that is juniper.
Juniper berries impart a pine flavor to the gin, which combines well with the aromas of other botanicals. Botanicals such as angelica root, orris root, licorice root, orange peel, grapefruit peel, coriander, and anise are commonly used to make gin.
A gin can be either floral, spicy, citrusy, herbaceous, or classic dry. The alcohol strength in the gin also plays a part in its flavour profile with gins being 40% or more alcohol. Navy-strength gin has more than 57.15% alcohol.
Even if you are a gin aficionado, choosing the right gin for your G&T can be tricky. While some gin cocktails beg for citrus, others prefer spicy. However, when it comes to making the perfect G&T, some might say that the best gin to go with is classic dry.
When we think of classic dry gin, the first type to come to mind is the London dry gin. This is a traditional, juniper-focused gin. The main difference between London Dry Gin and other gins is that all the ingredients must be naturally derived and added during the distillation process.
It’s also interesting to know that London Dry Gin can be made anywhere in the world. And that it has inspired classic dry gins all over. In fact, Australia now produces some of the best Australian Dry Gins and you’ll even find Melbourne Dry Gins, Sydney Dry Gins, and so forth. It’s worth checking out some of our top recommendations for Aussie gins.
The key to a great G&T is to balance out the bitterness of the tonic with the refreshing notes of the gin. A classic dry gin packed with zesty citrus notes will give you the refreshing taste you need in your ideal gin and tonic.
Choosing the right tonic
Now that you know which gin makes the best G&T, which is the best tonic? Tonic water is a go-to mixer and an essential ingredient for gin and tonic cocktails. However, just like gins, all tonics aren’t created equal and there’s a method to finding the right one for the perfect G&T.
This is a whole other dilemma, especially when there are so many tonic brands to choose from. Some tonic waters like Strange Love and Fever Tree were designed specifically for mixed drinks like this. In fact, Strange Love is our top pick, which is why you see their mixers in so many of our cocktail kits.
It’s important to understand the different flavour profiles of tonic waters, as the flavour of a tonic can make or break a G&T. Choose the right one and it can be a harmonious blend. But choose the wrong one and it can compete or clash with your gin, making it unpalatable.
Here are the 5 main types of tonic water and how they taste:
- Indian Tonic: citric with spicy aromas of cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and ginger
- Mediterranean Tonic: delicate and floral with a hint of saltiness
- Elderflower Tonic: fragrant, floral with hints of pear
- Light Tonic: clean, crisp and low-calorie
- Savoury Tonic: cucumber, rosemary, olive, or other savoury-flavours
Choosing the right tonic for your G&T comes down to the gin you use. A classic dry gin calls for a crisp tonic that can compliment the piney notes of juniper. For some gins, this could be Indian Tonic or Mediterranean Tonic. Plus your choice of tonic water could also come down to your personal taste, so try a few and see what works best for your chosen gin and palate.
The perfect gin vs tonic ratio
Now that you’ve got the gin and tonic to make your G&T, it’s time to find out the perfect gin vs tonic ratio. After all, a great-tasting G&T needs balance, as you don’t want any flavour to dominate the others.
Spring calls for refreshing and light flavors. The standard ratio for gin and tonic is 1:3. That means one part gin to three parts tonic. However. the ratio ultimately comes down to personal choice and how strong you like your drink, so it’s ok to experiment.
If you use one part gin to three parts tonic, an ideal measurement would be 30ml of gin for every 90ml of tonic water. Of course, no one can stop you from making a double.
Besides it being delicious, the best thing about a gin and tonic is how simple it is to make. There’s no need for fancy bar tools and this goodness is built right in the glass. That’s right, no shaking or stirring. You can watch this video to learn how to build a cocktail.
Keep in mind that lots of ice chills the drink nicely but also won’t melt and dilute it. And of course, lots of ice is exactly what you need in summer.
The steps for making a classic gin and tonic are as follows:
- Pour 60ml of gin into a highball glass over ice
- Add 120-180 ml of tonic water, to taste
- Garnish with a slice of lemon, lime, or orange
Garnishing a G&T
While a wedge or slice of lemon or lime is a typical component of a gin and tonic, you can use almost any seasonal ingredients, such as orange, grapefruit, or even berries.
The secret to choosing the perfect garnish is in the botanicals, so check the flavour profile of your gin. And don’t just stop at the fruit, you can get creative with your garnish and add flowers, herbs, or even spices, such as peppercorns, a cinnamon stick, or star anise. The options are endless.
A G&T is a classic cocktail to enjoy year-round, but being so refreshing they are fantastic in spring and summer.
While the recipe is simple, these basic rules will ensure you make the perfect G&T at home every time.
If you are making gin and tonic for the first time, try making it with the standard ingredients and ratio. If that doesn’t satisfy your palate, you can experiment. That’s the beauty of the G&T.
Finally, your gin and tonic will be only as good as both the gin and tonic you put in. Opt for quality ingredients and you are one step closer to making the perfect G&T.